At the March 8 town meeting, Harpswell voters will be asked to spend $10,000 for a wind study to evaluate the feasibility of putting up to four wind turbines on Long Reach Mountain.
Whether Harpswell residents are for or against a wind turbine development on Long Reach Mountain, they should vote “no” on the wind study.
For those who favor the project, there is no reason for the town to pay $10,000 to have a wind study tower erected. Because wind maps and data from nearby monitoring stations show the site is marginal, Harpswell was denied a federal grant for a wind study tower.
A wind power developer who has reason to believe there is more potential than available data indicate would pay the full cost of a wind study. This is why the Harpswell Budget Advisory Committee voted against this article.
Another reason to vote “no” is that the feasibility of placing the wind study equipment the 300-foot communications tower to be built on the mountain has not been evaluated. If feasible, this would eliminate the need to clear a road to the ridge for a special wind monitoring tower.
Residents within three-quarters of a mile of the turbines should also be concerned about noise, strobe lights and “shadow flicker” from the 400-foot tall turbines. Residents of Mars Hill living near Maine’s only operating commercial wind turbines have filed a “Notice of Intent” to sue the town over permit issues relating to noise levels that exceed the minimum set by Maine Department of Environmental Protection.
Finally, this project would only produce two tenths of 1 percent of the wind energy sought by the Governor’s Wind Power Task Force. Residents who believe that the small amount of energy to be generated by this project is not worth destroying a scenic natural area that is crossed by what is one of the best coastal hiking trails south of the Camden Hills should vote “no” as well.
Wind power will require that a huge construction access road as wide as Route 123 be bulldozed through the forest on the crest of the mountain ridge, close to and crossing the scenic Cliff Trail, and areas of forest the size of a football field must be clear-cut and for each tower.
4 March 2008
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